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Old 07.02.2021, 12:34
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Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

Not really a rant more just an observation. I moved here last year during the pandemic (and I take responsibility for that!) and have found it very difficult to integrate in any meaningful way.

Don't get me wrong I understand the legend of how difficult Switzerland is, and I am prepared for that. It's just with this never ending lockdown, having to work from my ****y apartment, I'm finding myself increasingly isolated. Obviously can chat with friends and family back home (which helps), but even all their flights etc are cancelled.

Now I understand the answer here is to toughen up a bit, and its weird because usually I am a very tough person. But I'm getting the feeling that I am going backwards with my life. I don't want to come out of this pandemic stunted!

Tl:dr, moved to Zurich to start a new life, ended up with even less of a life whilst working a very stressful job.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to cope, or new things to take up, I would be much obliged.
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Old 07.02.2021, 13:03
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

In the same bucket. Had a tonne of holidays last year and had grand plans. All of which fizzled out thanks to Corona. So ended up staying at home and taking very long walks in the forest. Ended up listening to many German podcasts and improved my German. Don't have any secrets to share except the struggle is real, mental health has been one clear casualty of CV, social contact is very uplifting. Make time for yourself, keep yourself active, keep in touch through calls, WhatsApp, VCs and remain thankful that you are in good health. Many others don't have the same luxury. And when it gets real dark, accept it and wait for it to pass. BIG Virtual HUG coming your way stranger.
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Old 07.02.2021, 13:09
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

I’m Swiss born and bred and I find it extremely difficult, especially in the winter months as I don’t like winter sports. All the cultural activities I’d normally do in winter (museums, theatres, cinema, etc ) are closed. At least I can’t work from home! If I had to I’d definitely go crazy.

So I’m afraid I don’t have much advice for you except hang in there!
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Old 07.02.2021, 13:20
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

Open a Cadbury shop in Zurich?
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Old 07.02.2021, 13:28
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

You’re not alone, I’ve totally lost the will to live! Not being able to book holidays and visit family, having nothing to look forward to is breaking me
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Old 07.02.2021, 13:36
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

I think this winter in particular has been really rough for a lot of people due to the lack of sunlight / gray, rainy weather and occasional Covid-induced anxiety, coupled with just not being able to get out and do things that we otherwise would be. For myself at least, I find that it helps knowing that spring (and sunshine) will be here soon.

A few things I suggest are making sure you get enough sleep, have proper vitamin D and take a multi-vitamin every day (e.g. B12, etc. and Pantothenic acid is the "happiness vitamin") and maybe joining some kind of online course (for example, German classes through Migros) that will help you meet other people in similar situations. I made quite a few good, new friends through my German classes after moving here and it definitely helped me feel more connected and less lost and lonely.

I think it also helps to find positive things to focus your mind on and keep your mind off of the negative stuff. This winter, I've been doing a massive re-organization of my house -- de-cluttering, etc. and getting my studio space re-designed. Maybe this is a good time for you to start a new hobby of some sort. Also, I suggest getting out in nature for walks, bike rides, etc. as much as you can. Being out in nature and the fresh air and natural light can work wonders for the mind.

Hang in there. It will get better...
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Old 07.02.2021, 13:43
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

I can relate, it must be the worst time to move to a new country.

I would take up logo123's remark about listening to German potcasts/radio, watching German TV, get a course (like Rosetta Stone , it checks your pronunciation, the main point to be understood LOL. I got a course on CDs, on the website it seems to be online - others might have more suggestions).
It doesn't sound exciting but when life starts up again you will make friends much quicker and the lonely times won't feel as wasted.

Btw. learning a language doesn't have to be a full time exhausting thing, run German radio in the background when doing something else. Subliminal training, no effort (of course in addition to active learning).

Grab this crazy time as a chance. Don't postpone things like learning the language because later you will claim not to have the time for it eg meeting enough people you can practice with.
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Old 07.02.2021, 13:52
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

Why not Netflix and chill?
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Old 07.02.2021, 14:02
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

I´m a bit lucky here, despite living in a one room under the roof bedsit pokey hole in a one horse village hanging like a hemorrhoid on the ass end of Bavaria I have the ability (or the gift) of total mental hibernation as soon as I close the door behind me.

Crack a beer, King Crimson on the stereo, brain in neutral, wait for getting up time the next day... Repeat, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday On weekends pull the control rods Friday evening and drool in a stupor until Monday.

Have that on a loop and this covid lockdown will be over in a flash. Or simply go insane, whatever comes easiest.
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Old 07.02.2021, 14:03
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

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In the same bucket. Had a tonne of holidays last year and had grand plans. All of which fizzled out thanks to Corona. So ended up staying at home and taking very long walks in the forest. Ended up listening to many German podcasts and improved my German. Don't have any secrets to share except the struggle is real, mental health has been one clear casualty of CV, social contact is very uplifting. Make time for yourself, keep yourself active, keep in touch through calls, WhatsApp, VCs and remain thankful that you are in good health. Many others don't have the same luxury. And when it gets real dark, accept it and wait for it to pass. BIG Virtual HUG coming your way stranger.
Thank you for the kind words Logo, appreciated. Good tip on the podcast, be good to pick the language up. Been deciding between high German and Swiss German. More resources available for high so probably will go for that.

Hang in their yourself!

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I’m Swiss born and bred and I find it extremely difficult, especially in the winter months as I don’t like winter sports. All the cultural activities I’d normally do in winter (museums, theatres, cinema, etc ) are closed. At least I can’t work from home! If I had to I’d definitely go crazy.

So I’m afraid I don’t have much advice for you except hang in there!
Thanks for sharing your experience, tough time for all!

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Open a Cadbury shop in Zurich?
How droll. Hahaha.

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You’re not alone, I’ve totally lost the will to live! Not being able to book holidays and visit family, having nothing to look forward to is breaking me
Feels like prison, except in prison they actually feed you rather than having to do it yourself!

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I think this winter in particular has been really rough for a lot of people due to the lack of sunlight / gray, rainy weather and occasional Covid-induced anxiety, coupled with just not being able to get out and do things that we otherwise would be. For myself at least, I find that it helps knowing that spring (and sunshine) will be here soon.

A few things I suggest are making sure you get enough sleep, have proper vitamin D and take a multi-vitamin every day (e.g. B12, etc. and Pantothenic acid is the "happiness vitamin") and maybe joining some kind of online course (for example, German classes through Migros) that will help you meet other people in similar situations. I made quite a few good, new friends through my German classes after moving here and it definitely helped me feel more connected and less lost and lonely.

I think it also helps to find positive things to focus your mind on and keep your mind off of the negative stuff. This winter, I've been doing a massive re-organization of my house -- de-cluttering, etc. and getting my studio space re-designed. Maybe this is a good time for you to start a new hobby of some sort. Also, I suggest getting out in nature for walks, bike rides, etc. as much as you can. Being out in nature and the fresh air and natural light can work wonders for the mind.

Hang in there. It will get better...
Thank you for that long message, appreciate the time. I got a good dose of Covid myself so understand why people are reticient. Sleep has been extremely hard for me since I have arrived, I'm sure this does not help. Shame as I used to sleep like a baby!

Thanks for heads up on the German.

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I can relate, it must be the worst time to move to a new country.

I would take up logo123's remark about listening to German potcasts/radio, watching German TV, get a course (like Rosetta Stone , it checks your pronunciation, the main point to be understood LOL. I got a course on CDs, on the website it seems to be online - others might have more suggestions).
It doesn't sound exciting but when life starts up again you will make friends much quicker and the lonely times won't feel as wasted.

Btw. learning a language doesn't have to be a full time exhausting thing, run German radio in the background when doing something else. Subliminal training, no effort (of course in addition to active learning).

Grab this crazy time as a chance. Don't postpone things like learning the language because later you will claim not to have the time for it eg meeting enough people you can practice with.

Yeah I really picked my time to uproot my whole life. Cost me my long term relationship, moved away from a place I was comfortable from! But I'm sure I will survive... I just hope life picks up again a bit. I'm a bit worried that a couple months more and I'll be practically feral and will then REALLY struggle to integrate haha.

Will check out those resources thanks.

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Why not Netflix and chill?
I am restless. I never really thought of myself as a particularly sociable person but I guess I am. Also I wasted a lot of time in my 20's (now 30) on a relationship and killing myself with work. Life is passing me by and I don't want to be as passsive.
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Old 07.02.2021, 14:05
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

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I´m a bit lucky here, despite living in a one room under the roof bedsit pokey hole in a one horse village hanging like a hemorrhoid on the ass end of Bavaria I have the ability (or the gift) of total mental hibernation as soon as I close the door behind me.

Crack a beer, King Crimson on the stereo, brain in neutral, wait for getting up time the next day... Repeat, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday On weekends pull the control rods Friday evening and drool in a stupor until Monday.

Have that on a loop and this covid lockdown will be over in a flash. Or simply go insane, whatever comes easiest.
A rare skill. One that I used to have. I think my relationship breaking up kind of cured/deprived me of this. All my plans for the future have kind of evaporated and now having turned 30 I feel like the best years are behind, or if not behind are now different. I feel youthful in myself and want to enjoy that!
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Old 07.02.2021, 14:30
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

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You’re not alone, I’ve totally lost the will to live! Not being able to book holidays and visit family, having nothing to look forward to is breaking me
I can totally relate to this. A couple of days ago I read someone said he/she did not care anymore about covid and had got totally used to the current situation. It made me think that if I had to live my life like this for 30+ years... then I don't want to live. Of course I hope things will improve with the vaccines, but if the current scenario were to be prolonged for years without end, then don't count me in.
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Old 07.02.2021, 14:32
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

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A rare skill. One that I used to have. I think my relationship breaking up kind of cured/deprived me of this. All my plans for the future have kind of evaporated and now having turned 30 I feel like the best years are behind, or if not behind are now different. I feel youthful in myself and want to enjoy that!
You're still young. And you still (most likely) have most of your life ahead of you. Not sure if you ever want a family with kids, but for myself, those are the best years.

I have a really good book on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that was written by a psychologist. CBT -- the basics of it -- might be something that could help you. It basically helps teach people to change their thought patterns by learning to recognize negative thoughts and then to change those thoughts and hence, also their emotions -- rather than letting their negative thoughts control their emotions. Most of us just think and emote without really trying to control it. One of the things she points out in the book is that much of our unhappiness and sense of discontent stems from thinking in terms of "should" -- what we think should be. e.g. "I should be making more money." "I should be in a happy relationship." So then when we focus on the "Should" rather than trying to be content with what we have or what will be, it generates a sense of unhappiness. In all honesty, the book has helped me immensely because it's helped me learn how to control and change my thought patterns.

Anyways, sorry to ramble about that. But another thing I suggest is to NOT try to 'fill the void' with social media, because so many studies have found that those sites generate depression and anxiety. Also, I think you had referred to your apartment as being "s***y." Maybe do some things to help brighten it up and add some plants, etc. to help it feel like a more pleasant and enjoyable space. Send me pics if you want any tips. I like doing that stuff. I think that quite often, our mood is a reflection of our environment.
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Old 07.02.2021, 14:40
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

We are all together on this. (this is, funny enough, what the pilot of a plane where I was a passenger said - open mic - on the second attempt to land in Greenland with some very daunting crossed winds).

This pandemic is triggering effects beyond the economic crisis - this is not anymore about the resilience of business or society, is about if people have the mental resilience (and stability) to endure still another 12 months of partial deprived freedom....

Personally, I feel like a bird on a cage -- i spend usually (before the crisis) >>50% of my time abroad travelling (for business) and, oh, man! do I crawl up the walls of my flat daily....

What works for me (beyond the superbe tips given by the other EF members)
  • Sports outdoors (even if it is just walking) at least 2 h daily (also to get some UV - even if there is no sun).
  • Take up a new hobby (if you are in ZH & want to do beekeeping, ask me, one of my friends cannot manage anymore one of his bee-cottages).
  • Learn that thing that you always wanted to learn - soo many online free tutorials. painting? handcrafts?
  • remember that the 'Gemeinschaftzentrum' workshops are open... so you can always go and build or paint the bookshop that you were always missing (Baucoop is open, so no excuses)
  • go swimming in the lake. Cold? yes, VERY. But you feel like a new (wo)man, if you deep for 5 minutes. stress- relief guaranteed.
  • play social no-contact sports outdoors (I have seen some people close to the Zoo playing ultimate frisbee)
  • meet personally new people on 'petit committee' through sprachetandem, or expats websites, or meet-up, or other platform to initiate contact.
  • Agree 'shopping for food together' with acquittances, if you have problem with 'meat names', 'fish names', etc
  • Offer to be an ask-me-for-free-expert on (cheese? wine?) if someone has problems with knowing what to buy in a 'specialized shop' -or in coop
  • Take video-cocktails with your old friends abroad
  • Take video coff-calls (instead of conf-calls) with your clients and new friends, to keep the relations going (coff-calls = a 15 min coffee-break calls, to talk some relaxed subjects)
  • Volunteer to be a dog-walker in one of the 'Tierenschultz' pet-humane associations

And, YES, it takes an effort to meet new (Swiss) people here in Switzerland. Also without pandemic....

best of luck!
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Old 07.02.2021, 14:43
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

I smiled this morning as I crushed a banana into my muesli.

Why?
Bananas remind me of my late father. As a schoolboy in the Second World War he went without bananas for years and this made him treasure them as an exotic luxury food. Likewise he hated rabbit as that was sometimes the only meat his mother could find.

But why tell us this?
Over the last few months I have had a number of phone and WhatsApp calls with single friends here, in the UK and Australia. Clearly living with a partner makes life much easier through lockdowns (providing you are not tempted t strangle them). But living alone at the moment is very hard.

When they are down, I tried to to compare their life today compared to the last war. Food was rationed, many areas of the UK were bombed nightly, families were separated, normal economic life ended, 3% of the 1940-level world population died - and it lasted 5 years and the effects much longer with all rationing in the UK ending only in 1954.

There was no TV, let alone Netflix! Few phones let alone the internet. Even so it is tough today, and it has already gone on far longer than I imagined, but vaccines are here and life this spring and summer will be much brighter...
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Old 07.02.2021, 14:45
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

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You're still young. And you still (most likely) have most of your life ahead of you. Not sure if you ever want a family with kids, but for myself, those are the best years.

I have a really good book on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that was written by a psychologist. CBT -- the basics of it -- might be something that could help you. It basically helps teach people to change their thought patterns by learning to recognize negative thoughts and then to change those thoughts and hence, also their emotions -- rather than letting their negative thoughts control their emotions. Most of us just think and emote without really trying to control it. One of the things she points out in the book is that much of our unhappiness and sense of discontent stems from thinking in terms of "should" -- what we think should be. e.g. "I should be making more money." "I should be in a happy relationship." So then when we focus on the "Should" rather than trying to be content with what we have or what will be, it generates a sense of unhappiness. In all honesty, the book has helped me immensely because it's helped me learn how to control and change my thought patterns.

Anyways, sorry to ramble about that. But another thing I suggest is to NOT try to 'fill the void' with social media, because so many studies have found that those sites generate depression and anxiety. Also, I think you had referred to your apartment as being "s***y." Maybe do some things to help brighten it up and add some plants, etc. to help it feel like a more pleasant and enjoyable space. Send me pics if you want any tips. I like doing that stuff. I think that quite often, our mood is a reflection of our environment.
Actually our environment is a reflection of you mood.


Problem at the moment: Environment can't really profit from our good mood.
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Old 07.02.2021, 15:11
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

I almost feel like a Hermit these past few months.....I am functioning Extrovert ie. I am very high energy at work and I use the weekends to recharge/recuperate.....usually I like being alone But these few months have tested me. But today I was thinking that I have been reflecting and listening to far more content than I have in the past and it has helped me get better connected with who I am and my feelings. Daily FaceTime calls with family also help. I walk between 8-12 kms daily and use that time for calls or podcasts. And when this things gets better (I will take the vaccine as soon as I can), I do plan of travelling home as well as travelling. Nice upshot of this period is that I could save some money.... :-P
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Old 07.02.2021, 15:52
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

@OP, you're not alone. Probably we all do. Some more than others but I guess nobody is happy with the current situation.

Try to think positive and be patient...this too shall pass.

I'm not sure you can find the motivation to learn new things, run a marathon, launch into new projects, just be kind to yourself. A walk in fresh air can do wonders. A nice lunch, dinner. A hot bath with aromatic bath salts. A good movie. Little things.

(Oh.....and avoid social media :ROFL
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Old 07.02.2021, 16:54
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

As I assume it to be the reason why you came here, is the diff in salary/career worth all you left home?
Maybe you could see that as an opportunity to reflect on your life goals!
Because by the look of it this is gonna stay for a while. Lockdown until summer and no overseas travel before 22 or even 23.
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Old 07.02.2021, 17:05
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Re: Anyone else finding it rather tough at the moment (Zurich)

These are very difficult times, but more so I feel for younger people and in particular in your situation. I completely understand your feeling that life is passing by, my sons feel much the same way. We are lucky that we are a family of four and can give each other support and company. I would agree that learning the language is a good use of your time and any other self-improvement activities, perhaps with a bit of caution ... I now have a hernia from my exercise regime 🙄. We also find wine and rum (not together) can do wonders for improving one's mood and making long term plans for the rosy future that you will have. This s***, like all things, will pass, just hang in there.
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